Summer camps are back this year and can be quite expensive (our summer camp guide includes some discount codes!). Our informal study shows that basic camps are about double these “more affordable camps” this year with premium camps coming in much higher. We have found a few gems available at more affordable prices that you should know about. The following East Bay summer camps are offered for less than $250 per week for approximately full-time coverage.
🆓 means the camp is free. 🌟 means that camp is less than $100 per week. Other tips to save money on camps are below.
Affordable East Bay Summer camps
🆓 ACE Camp (Oakland)
FREE 3-week program from 9 am to 2 pm activates young campers with Arts, Culture, and Earth Studies at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. Two sessions.
🆓 Aim High (Oakland, Richmond, and more)
FREE 5-week program for middle schoolers with limited access to summer enrichment. This program aims to ignite a love of learning. Space is limited.
Berkeley Fun Camp (Berkeley)
Berkeley’s Classic Day Camp has just barely tipped over the scales at $269 per week (Resident) in which children explore local parks including Tilden Park, Berkeley Marina, and one area beach. The Fun Camps offered at local playgrounds and recreation centers like James Kenney, Live Oak, and Frances Albrier are even friendlier price-wise.
Ages: 5-13, CITs entering grades 10 to 12
Fees: $150 per week (Berkeley resident) | $180 per week (non-resident)
BMuZ Music Camps (Berkeley) – one week only
This is the only half-day camp on our list because it is for middle schoolers, the half-day seems doable. Band, Jazz, Strings, Fiddle, and Ukulele Camps are offered through Berkeley educators from June 5-9 only.
Fees: $250 per week for a half-day of music camp
Learn more >
🌟 Camp Elmwood (Berkeley) – one week only
An urban adventure camp for ages 6 to 13 with teen leaders for 14-18. Camp Elmwood is a community service program of St. John’s Church in Berkeley. From July 24-28 only.
Fees: $80 per week or $75 for a second sibling + $30 additional for aftercare until 5:30 pm
🆓 Cantare’s Summer Music Camp (Oakland)
FREE 3-week program is a singing, music, games, and dance camp that includes a trip to sing the National Anthem at the A’s game and a final performance at the end of camp. From June 12-23.
Junior Lifeguard Camp (Alameda, Castro Valley)
Lifeguard lessons and skill-building at the beach. This summer, planning to offer 7 one-week sessions at Crown Beach and Cull Canyon.
Fees: $205 (Alameda or Contra Costa county resident) | $225 (non-resident)
🌟 Love Oakland (Oakland) – four days only
Produced by New City Church, the camp includes Bible stories, outdoor games, sports, songs, and crafts at Laurel Elementary School in Oakland.
Fees: $50 for a four-day session, June 20-23
Park’n It Day Camp (various EBRPD parks)
Traditional summer day camp program that takes place Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm in various East Bay Regional Parks.
Ages: 5-12 | Leaders in training: 13-17
Fees: $200 (Alameda or Contra Costa county resident) | $220 (non-resident) | 10% discount for second sibling
Recreation and Team Sports (Berkeley)
RATS is a play-all-day summer day camp where kids of all ability levels are encouraged to participate. 8 am to 5:30.
Fees: $250 per week
The “Rec” Summer Camp (Emeryville)
Traditional summer camp experience with weekly themes. Includes swimming, field trips, and meals. 7:30 am to 5:30.
Fees: $159 per week (Emeryville resident) | $165 per week (non-resident)
🌟 San Pablo Recreation Summer Day Camp (San Pablo)
Wow, now that’s a great price with full coverage for working families! Combination of indoor and outdoor camp activities with one field trip per week. 7:30 am to 6 pm.
Fees: $65-$81 (San Pablo resident) | $75-$101 (non-resident)
World of Wonder (Alameda)
Traditional summer day camp program with field trips from 8 am to 5:30 pm.
Fees:$202 per week (Alameda resident) | $224 per week (non-resident)
FYI, Oakland Town Camp is quite affordable and almost completely sold out (Register here). Just past our cut-off at $275 per week, you’ll find Swings & Wings Camp.
7 Tips to save money on summer camps
Not all of these tips will work for every family or every camp but you might surprise yourself and lop off $100+ with some scheduling flexibility or creativity. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Find a deal. Our summer camp guide includes dozens of discount codes.
- Scholarships. Ask the summer camps staff for a scholarship or need-based rate.
- Sign up a sib. There are often multiple kid rate discounts for families or friends.
- Bundle. Sign up for more than one week. There are often multi-week discounts available.
- Reduce. If you have the flexibility to shorten your hours or days of care, you can save a chunk of change.
- Think Rec. Local parks and recreation departments offer great deals for residents, especially if you don’t need full-time care.
- Barter. Get creative. Can you make a trade? Do you have a skill that would benefit the camp? Can you prepare snack or run errands to help the staff in order to defray costs?
Did we miss your favorite lower-cost camp option? Help a family out and share it in the comments!